*This article was orginally written for Your Zen Mama*
The term ‘conscious conception’ is the idea of setting the intention of creating and holding a loving space to call in your baby. When we think of preparing for conception we often focus on preparing our bodies; however, preparing one's body, mind, and spirit to take a more holistic approach can make it an even more powerful and transformative experience. Conscious conception is meant to be personal and authentic to you and your partner and the unique life you will bring into the world. In practicing this you can hopefully cultivate a deeper connection between the two of you, learn to trust the process, and move through some of the expectations, pressures, fears or judgments that can be present as you call your baby forth. It’s important to remember that your journey is sacred and special, no matter how long it takes, or what it takes to get there; bringing a baby into your world is truly a divine experience.
I knew I wanted to have a conscious conception and I began the process before my husband and I were even ready to start a family. In my early twenties I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and then told it was more likely to be Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which doctors said can sometimes make it difficult to have children. Hearing those words along with labels of syndromes and disorders introduced a deep fear and lack of trust in my body. However, it also sparked a desire within myself to explore natural ways to reduce my symptoms. When my husband and I felt we were ready to start trying to conceive in the next year, I decided to go further into my healing journey. On a spiritual level I wanted to work through some competing intentions I had as well as judgment and fears I had built up around my fertility. I started attending women circles at WMN space where I could vulnerably share in a safe space and listen to other women share their stories. I also started acupuncture treatments to reduce stress levels, balance hormone levels, and increase blood flow and circulation. My acupuncturist created different blends of Chinese medicinal supplements as well. After 6 months my next ultrasound showed no signs of any cysts, my cycles were more regular, and my gynecologist was in disbelief that any signs of P.C.O.S were non existent. I believe that these healing practices in addition to other steps my husband and I took together towards having a conscious conception supported us in conceiving when the time came where we felt ready to try. Conscious conception taught me how to nourish and mother myself before going on to nourish and mother our baby. I hope that in sharing some tools that helped me I can shed light on how you too can honor your unique experience, even when your path may not always be clear...
Get in tune with your body
This is an opportunity to get in touch with your body's natural rhythm. In North America it is very common for women to start some form of birth control (IUD, pill etc) in their teen years and stay on it until the time comes when they are ready to start a family. There are many schools of thought on this but you may want to consider asking your doctor about when is a good time to go off birth control. In my experience it was helpful to go off a year in advance to give my hormones a chance to level out and get to know my natural cycle. Practicing mindfulness to connect with your breath throughout your day, or setting aside 5 minutes for deep meditative breaths and lovingly placing your hands on your womb space as you inhale and exhale can help to strengthen your connection with your body. Daily movement like gentle stretching, walking, or hiking are also great ways to feel more in your body and maintain exercise. Be gentle on yourself, listen to your body and recognize that it is doing its best and deserves to be trusted, honored, and loved.
Nourish Your Body
Nourishing your body not only helps to regulate your hormones and prepare your body for conception, but it creates a healthy environment that will be able to nourish your baby for 9 months. It also puts you on the path of strengthening your self love and creating these healthy habits now will make them easier to maintain in pregnancy, in postpartum, and as your child grows up. Pre-conception is not a time for extreme diets or extreme exercise plans…being highly regimented about your health can end up causing more physical and mental stress. Instead focus on eating a well balanced diet of nutrient rich proteins, carbs, good fats, fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid highly processed foods, added sugar and salt, trans fats and limit your alcohol intake. Ask your doctor about how far in advance you should start taking a prenatal vitamin. Research shows that beauty and household cleaning products can contain toxins that are endocrine disruptors - harmful to hormonal health. It’s a good idea to take a look in your cabinets and do a thorough clean sweep.
Embrace Your Spirit
Conception, pregnancy, and parenting are all beautiful opportunities to go deeper into your spiritual growth. This can be a time to shift your energy from your physical human experience and go inward to do some emotional cleansing and explore what your inner knowing has to say. Are there any limiting beliefs or narratives that are no longer serving you? Is there a reframe to this story you have created for yourself? Are there any action steps you can take to move through whatever might be holding you back emotionally? This could be a daily meditation or prayer practice, setting boundaries, journaling, time in nature, or re-prioritizing where you spend your energy in life. Sometimes expressing yourself by singing, dancing, or making art, can help to get you out of your own way and let your spirit guide you. Creating an inviting meditation space in your home that is your own place to just sit and decompress, or journal, can help to commit to a daily practice.
Connect with Your Divine Feminine
Your divine feminine is the part of your consciousness that senses rather than thinks; it is intuitive, creative, nurturing, and empathetic. In the hustle of daily life this feminine yin energy can sometimes get lost. Carve out some “you time” to connect with this part of yourself. It could be with a soothing bath with crystals, epsom salts, candles, and a podcast or music. Connect with the forces of mother nature on your next walk (preferably barefoot), soak up some sun, or gaze up at the moon, and take in some deep breaths. You could curl up with a good book, or turn on some music and dance in your house. Romance your spirit and stimulate your senses with a glass of wine, and dark chocolate. If you feel you've had enough solitude, plan a relaxing girls night or get involved in a women's community. Gathering with other women is truly powerful, especially if you do it with the intention of listening, being present, and open hearted. Meet your own needs - wherever you are at, and take a moment to acknowledge the special, beautiful, powerful woman you are.
Open your Heart to your Partner
This is an opportunity to meet your partner where they are and deepen your connection. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, try to be an open book so that you can let those emotions out, receive the support you need from them, and move forward. Sometimes the pressures or expectations around conceiving can get in the way of how you actually want this time to feel - special, sexy, silly, fun, intimate, powerful etc. Doing activities together like getting outdoors to go hiking, camping, playing sports or games, or cooking together can be wonderful ways to bring out the fun energy in your relationship. Take a trip to a place that has special meaning to you, or if that is not possible, plan a stay-cation or create that holiday energy in your own home by putting away your phones and spending quality time together. Try to live in a state of abundance and gratitude for the amazing love that you share. Babies are such high vibrational little beings, it would make sense that they would choose to enter into the world with that kind of energy…out of love!
Invite your Baby into Your Family
There is a tribe in Africa where the birthdate of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived, but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. When a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. After she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.” —Attributed to the Himba of Namibia. This idea of creating an offering to invite your baby is a magical one. You could write a letter to your baby or write your intention and mantra, offer up prayers with your partner, make up a song, make a playlist of you and your partner's favorite songs to listen to together, collect stones or seashells from nature, or create a piece of jewelry or art - anything to welcome this force that is bigger than yourself into your hearts.
Set Boundaries & Seek Support
Surround yourself with people who have your best interest in mind, who will get behind you and have nothing but positive loving energy to give you. It can be healthy to set loving boundaries with friends or family who you feel are not in alignment with you during this period. Setting boundaries for yourself to protect your energy with things like news and social media consumption can also be important; try not to compare your journey to anyone else’s and remember that social media is a highlight reel and you never know someone's full story. Taking a hiatus from screens in general is a good idea. If you have been trying to conceive and feel as though you could use some support don’t be afraid to reach out. Whether it's confiding in a trusted best friend, your mother, or support group, to feel less alone and more held. There are also so many healers out there: naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, energy healers, doula’s who specializes in conscious conception, therapists, your gynecologist etc. Only you know the kind of support you need, so give yourself permission to ask and receive it.
Surrender to Divine Timing
There is a book called ‘Spirit Babies’ in which the author, Walter Makichen, explores the idea that a baby's soul chooses its parents and chooses when to come into their lives when they are ready. Our consumer culture is used to getting most things we want instantly…our culture is also very achievement-oriented and social media can amplify this. However, conception is not something we can control the timing of, and it is definitely not just another achievement to be won but rather a blessing to be received. Conception is a miracle in life. There is a fine balance between being clear with your intention, creating space for it, and loosening the tightness of your grip to let go of expectations and surrender to divine timing. The practice of surrendering can support us in the next step towards motherhood - the unknowns in pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
If you are just beginning your own journey of conscious conception, or have been on your journey for a long time, I hope that you take this moment to take a breath and give yourself plenty of grace and love in your process as you create and embrace your special story.